On June 6, 1944 allied forces led by the United States and operating out of England landed on France’s beaches to liberate France and make the free world safe. It didn’t all end that day. Precious lives and treasure were still to be expended; but that was the turning point from which the evil of fascism never recovered. Yesterday France may well have returned the favor. Please join me in exploring my joy.
Shortly after 2pm my time, (8pm Paris time), American news interrupted regularly scheduled programming to announce that Emmanuel Macron had handily defeated Marine LePen for the French Presidency. I was overcome with joy! It appears Macron won by about a 65-35% margin. I’m not an expert in French politics; in American politics that is a blowout!
This was a serious setback for right wing, ultra nationalist, xenophobic, fascist, racist movements all over the world. Are you paying attention Mr. Trump? This election should be the turning point. They probably don’t realize it but movements like America’s Tea Party, the UK’s UKIP Party and Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) took a big loss along with Le Pen’s National Front.
Another loser was Vladimir Putin’s Russia. They attempted to interfere in and influence this election by making public a huge dump of information, (the accuracy of which is highly questionable), on the eve of the voting. French laws severely stifled attempts to disseminate the information and/or lies, and Putin’s preferred candidate went down in flames. Was it France’s superior election laws or the French people having learned from the experiences of other? We may never know the answer to that question, but it is the result that counts. Interestingly Europeans are not like most Americans and they actually pay attention to global news. Perhaps this example will get some of my countrymen to improve their habits.
While many people are deceived into thinking they are winners – and some may somewhat be for a very short period of time – the only winners under fascism (and that is really what all these extreme right wing movements are at their cores) are the ultra-wealthy. Therefore, the first set of winners is the 99% of us who are not among those who need a passport to visit our money.
The European Union (EU) is a huge winner. The UK (who ironically in this particular aspect will be a loser) is in the process of leaving the EU. Under LePen France may well have followed suit. The UK’s exit will hurt the EU; France leaving on its tail may well have scuttled it.
NATO is another winner. People like Trump and LePen are among those who express skepticism about the military alliance. America is NATO’s most important member, but Macron’s victory leaves the American president alone among NATO chief executives with little prospect of reinforcement in the near future.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces reelection later this year, is another winner. Recent polling makes her prospects look pretty good but a radical right loss of this magnitude only makes her future look brighter. Merkel is a conservative who I don’t always agree with, but she is far from a nutcase like Trump or LePen.
Another set of winners are the various refugees. A common and central principle of fascist movements is the hatred of “those people”. Refugees are always looked on as “those people”. Politicians who try to take humanitarian action are immediate targets for the fascists. Refugee and immigration issues are always complex. One essential element in any solution is humanitarianism.
As I conclude writing this less than an hour has expired from the time I heard the news. I am doing something I try not to; write when still emotional. Today some bad people around the world lost and all the good people in the world won. Thank You France!
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